Yesterday was International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th each year for more than 100 years. It is a day to commemorate the advancements made in women’s rights and to discuss the challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment, and social life. While women’s rights have come a long way in 100 years, there is still huge in-equality in the world.
Yesterday I was invited to a dinner with IBM to celebrate and discuss the future of women in corporations with some inspirational women.
My personal ‘Women’s rights’ topic is technology. As a woman in technology, in-equality at work is a big thing for me, and is something I am really passionate about.
Yes, to start with, my computer science lectures are nearly all men, and if anyone asks what I study I often get surprised looks as the sad truth is technology is seen largely as a male sector. When we are young, most often we are pushed into gender career paths- Girls do the more ‘glamorous and soft skill choices’ and boys do more ‘aggressive’ math, and science based roles, leading to girls accounting for as few as 7% of computing A-level students in 2011/2012. Whether it’s that it’s seen as too geeky? Unglamorous? Uncool? Women make up just 19% of ITC managers and only 14% of IT strategy and planning professionals.
I am also so passionate about my career. I am a career girl, and I want to advance as strive for the top, so events like this, run by IBM, are so inspirational, as not only does it show big organisations are championing women, but also I got to meet some amazing women who are an inspiration.
For the meal we went to a French restaurant in my university town called Quite Simply French, where we sat at our tables and started to discuss women’s rights. For pre starters I had Sautéed Shelled Smoked Prawns in Garlic, Onion & Olive Oil. I love prawns and no problems de-shelling them... well no problem with the concept, although I am terrible at doing it, and so may have looked rather unsophisticated!
We had a very interesting conversation about women’s rights and women’s careers in other countries and cultures, as one of the women on my table was from Nigeria, and she explained that her family often show dismay that she is going to an investment banker. She said that her aunt asks her each time she goes home ‘When are you going to have the time to get pregnant?’.
For starters I had Leek & Mushroom Gratin cooked in a Garlic Cream topped with Gruyere cheese.
Another interesting point came out from the discussion was female support at work. It’s odd, but we found that instead of having more support from female bosses, we actually found it to our disadvantage. For some reason, the sisterhood is lacking, and instead, women seem to bully and undermine other women rather than supporting them. I know I’m tired of women-on-women jealousy at work.
In fact it may not be men who are stopping equality, but women. Surveys done found that most women have had an experience with a female superior who wouldn’t let them advance because the woman in power felt threatened.
For mains I chose Pan Fried Trout Fillet drizzled in an Almond & Fresh Parsley Butter accompanied by Wilted Spinach seasoned with grated Nut Meg & Lemon Zest. It was truly delicious. The trout was cooked beautifully, so tender and moist, and the almond parsley butter was divine.
By the time dessert came we had moved onto where we wanted to be 10 years time. It was an interesting discussion, as women- career- family mix is a hard one. Often it is seen as a one or the scenario, or when a woman chooses to have both, they are harassed for not spending enough time with their children. It is still very hard, but one of my idols is Marissa Mayer is leading the way. She is the president and CEO of Yahoo! And last year had a baby. Yes, she has been attacked for returning to work too soon, and more recently banning working from home (I support her decision on this), yet she’s proving you can do it all.
One of the other women there opted for Crème Brule, and I will admit I had a bit of food envy. I’ve never had it before, but I sneaked a mouthful and it was delicious!
I chose Belgium White Chocolate Cheesecake served with a Raspberry and Cream Coulis. I had a few pre arrival nerves as white chocolate in desserts tends to not have much flavour, but I needn’t have worried, this was full on white chocolate flavour. The cheesecake was interesting actually, as it was so creamy it reminded me of ice-cream texture.
I had such an amazing evening. It was great to discuss topics with like minded women, and not feel like the outspoken feminist which you might get called in other situations.
If you want to find more about International Women’s day, visit the website.
For more about women in technology, what better than Women in Technology themselves
For more information on IBM
And finally if it was just the food that caught your attention- Quite Simply French is here.
Let me know in the comments what your views are on any women’s rights topics. I’d love to get a discussion going.